As a youngster captivated by peasant life, Nick foresaw life as a farmer. As the son of a shopkeeper, however, this was no easy task. A farmer's son gradually takes over the company from his father, and relies on his experience, knowledge and help for many years to come, but how does one accomplish that when one's father owns a store?
A new perspective
As he grew up, he spent much of his time at a befriended farmer. Along the way he got more and more insight into how today's farmer works and what its challenges are. His parents, however, encouraged him to pursue something 'which has a future'. One day he saw 'Toy Story', the first 3D animated film, and fell in love with this technique. Nick then decided he wanted to make movies and the farmer in him found a place in his daily life as a hobby.
Across the border
Being quite ambitious, he wanted to be the best. He studied Multimedia Design with a focus on 3D animation. He went to work for a leading company in Amsterdam, but his ambitions were not confined by the Dutch borders: Nick started an internship in Toronto, to excel at his job even more so.
The homesickness he experienced in Toronto was only a sign of things to come. He discovered, that while he pursued his ambition in a big city far from home, he missed his cut-off jeans and clogs. After spending a while back home, his ever-gnawing ambition led him to London, where he seized an opportunity to work on the Superman film 'Man of Steel'.
Once there, it all fell into place. While working for the leading company for visual effects in Europe, he experienced the sometimes harsh reality of what his dream job really meant. In his heart, he knew that this mission was not his and he wanted to go home again. Having been extremely confident in persuing his dream for years, however, following his heart was not an easy step. With a somewhat bruised ego, he returned to the farm.
Settled back home, Nick decided to become a freelance Effects Artist and went to work in advertising for various companies in Amsterdam. His company 'Nick Nimble' had a flying start, but soon times of economical crisis set in. Once again he had to rewrite his future.
In this period, nature began to manifest itself more strongly on Nick's path. He discovered Martin Crawford and his 'Forest Garden', attended a workshop in England and became fascinated by the workings of nature. He quickly received his 'Permaculture Design Certificate' from Geoff Lawton, one of the leading experts on Permaculture.
Where he could talk for hours about 3D animation, pixels and films in the past, his attention and passion were now caught by the inner workings of nature. The moment he learned, for instance, that there are trees that share their surplus in nitrogen with surrounding trees and shrubs through their roots via a network of fungi, it became quite clear to him: 'This is what I've been searching for!'
Slowly it dawned on him: he wanted to live in the countryside, grow his own food and even build his own house. This house, then, would be made of wood, straw and clay, heated with solar thermal collectors and a wood stove, fueled by manually chopped wood, and powered by a small wind turbine and solar panels.
What is next?
The big question was: 'How can I combine my knowledge of animation, film and the Internet with my new fascination and additionally earn a living?' . Thus the concept of Garnense was born: 'an online platform for training and inspiration in the field of self-sufficiency.' As a child, Nick was totally hooked on the home video camera from his father. He also found a place for this passion in his main mission for Garnense: distributing filmed courses about self-sufficiency through the Internet.
At Garnense we invite you to follow your heart, to be inspired by the wonders of nature and to share your enthusiasm. We value the ancient crafts and wisdom of the past. At the same time we embrace innovation and today's knowledge, applying technology where needed.
The name 'Garnense' is a combination of 'garner' (gather or collect) and 'common sense'. In our eyes, that's what it is all about when it comes to self-sufficiency: 'common sense harvesting'. In a well-functioning ecosystem, such as a Forest Garden based on permaculture principles, harvesting is all you need to do, besides some simple maintenance. The key lies in the design. This is how we work at Garnense as well; the strategy starts with good observation, followed by some thorough pondering and, eventually, application. At the core, the broad outlines of such a design are relatively simple, but you add diversity and details along the way, according to the same strategy: observe, think and do.
With Garnense I hope to blur the boundary between the ornamental and vegetable garden, to bring people closer to nature and to pass on my enthusiasm. I would like to contribute to a world where humans, animals, plants and fungi live together in harmony. A world that is rooted in the 21st century, is inspired by nature and embraces innovation.
Nick van Zutphen :-)